Evernham Motorsports helps Martinsville toy drive

Evernham Motorsports pitches in with Martinsville Speedway's 10th Annual Toy Drive. MARTINSVILLE, VA. (December 9, 2003) -- Ray Evernham has enjoyed a great deal of success at Martinsville Speedway as the owner of the NASCAR Winston Cup cars ...

Evernham Motorsports pitches in with Martinsville Speedway's 10th Annual Toy Drive.

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (December 9, 2003) -- Ray Evernham has enjoyed a great deal of success at Martinsville Speedway as the owner of the NASCAR Winston Cup cars driven by Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield and as a crew chief for Jeff Gordon.

But as far as the staff of Martinsville Speedway is concerned, he drove straight into Victory Lane Wednesday afternoon.

Evernham dispatched a truck to Martinsville Speedway Wednesday afternoon, heavy with toys for the 10th Annual Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive and Souvenir Day this Saturday.

Red Eggers, who works in the engine shop for Evernham Motorsports, made the trek north from Statesville, N.C., and unloaded 197 toys for the toy drive.

"This is absolutely amazing ... it's absolutely amazing that someone that lives a couple of hours away from here would pitch in like this," said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. "It speaks volumes about how generous and giving people in our sport are."

Evernham learned of the plight facing many families in Martinsville and Henry County this Christmas a couple of weeks ago in a letter from Campbell. He immediately decided he needed to do something to help the area, which has been hit so hard by plant closings and suffers from a near 15 percent unemployment rate.

When pay checks were issued to the employees of Evernham Motorsports two weeks ago, a letter from Evernham was enclosed urging all company employees to pitch in and help the toy drive.

"We have been asked to help, and we wish to do so," the letter said. "Evernham Motorsports wants to send a sleigh filled with toys in response to Mr. Campbell's appeal for assistance. The company will be contributing a number of toys, and we are asking that those employees who are in a position to do so, to help us out."

And they helped out in a big way, giving boosting the total toys raised for the toy drive to over 1,253.

The 10th Annual Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive and Souvenir Day will kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday and run until 4 p.m.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers Dennis Setzer and Jon Wood will be on hand to sign autographs. Setzer, winner of two of the last three truck events at Martinsville Speedway, will sign autographs from noon to 1 p.m. Wood, the winner of October's Advance Auto Parts 200 at Martinsville, will sign autographs from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

As in the past, several Winston Cup souvenir big rigs will be on hand, selling many items at discounted prices, but there will be much more this time around. Souvenir rigs already confirmed to be onsite include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace, Terry Labonte and Martinsville Speedway.

There will be race car rides around Martinsville Speedway from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a $5 donation.

The Advance Auto Parts Race Simulator will be onsite all day for free interactive rides.

Pepsi will provide an X-Box Game featuring the NASCAR Thunder game set up for free play all day.

Several weekly racing stars will be on hand with their cars, including Timothy Peters, Peyton Sellers, Jimmy Mullins, John Smith, Jason Merriman and Clay Campbell.

There will be a day-long silent auction of racing-related memorabilia. Items include an autographed Jeff Gordon racing jacket, a Matt-Kenseth autographed hat, and an X-Box game.

And, as always, Santa Claus will be on hand, arriving at 11 a.m.

All donated toys will go to local Toys For Tots, handled by the Edward W. Richardson Detachment of the United States Marine Corps League. All toys will stay in the immediate area.

-ms-

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